The Temples By Tim and Jack
Today was the day of the temples, but first breakfast. We had fried egg and toast with sweet jam as well as some nice tea, who’d have guessed it? After our nutritional meal we embarked on the bone shaking, hour and a half long bus journey, after having a wee. Brett forgot his money belt so we had to stop for him, typical. Even though we all did have a wee before we left, someone who shall remain nameless managed to be bursting by the 30 minute mark.
At the first destination, the tourist hot-spot of Pichavaram, we enjoyed a well deserved ice-cream, or two, or three. To our surprise we also witnessed a breathtaking view over the mangrove forest, holes in the ground for toilets and two other white people. We also experienced the first Indian paparazzi moment of the day; we were asked for pictures by random people, we’re pretty sure it was because we’re white.
After another hour or so on the bus we arrived at the first temple in Chidambaram. We went through the east entrance, after handing in our footwear, and were blown away by the beautiful architecture. Tour guide Dutton took the lead but was soon replaced by a professional named Sarasavan, he could have been anywhere between the ages of 15 and 20. Sarasavan was very good and explained to us about the 108 dance moves which symbolise how often we breathe. We were listening intently but our feet were burning on the tiles of fire which paved the temple. After being ambushed some more by the famed paps, taking more pictures, selfies and following us around the temple, an old, angry man with a whistle encouraged us to leave, so we went to collect our shoes.
We went to the ‘Ritz hotel’ for lunch. It was nice because there was air-con and one flushing toilet – the food was nice too. On top of this we were laughed at for eating with forks by the restaurant staff who then invited all their friends to watch as well; there’s nothing better than being watched while you eat.
Back on the bus, half of the group disappeared behind seats for sleeps and were then woken by the beauty of the second temple. It is about 2000 years old and has an even longer name than the first. Shoes were taken again and we walked in, cameras blazing. We were greeted instantly by a giant golden cow’s bottom and the grand structure that was the temple. Tour guide Dutton was convinced the cow was a lion, it was not, it was a cow. The main temple was a kind of pyramid which included a corridor laced with statutes and a candlelit room with a larger statue inside. There were many outbuildings with more statues; Jack, issi and Laura S somehow managed to get involved with some sort of ceremony – Jack was convinced it was because he thanked a guy for turning on some lights, Issi wasn’t so sure. We then relaxed on the grass and listened to some traditional Indian music with a large sort of oboe, a drum and a shrunti box (Zak was very excited). After taking a few more pictures with strangers and watching some parrots we headed back to Amala.
After tea, we did some study time with the children and ended the night with the Lord’s Prayer (‘the primary school prayer’) led by Zak. We then wrote this beautiful blog and went to bed.
The Temples By Tim and Jack